Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bus Workout

This afternoon I took the MAT Route 95 Bellevue Express from downtown Omaha to Old Town Bellevue. The idea was to log a bus ride for the YP Bus Challenge, but not wimp out on a nice workout in this great spring weather. I had been talking with Brady about wanting to step up the cycling activity a bit, and decided to put my legs where my mouth is.

Before leaving work, I looked at the various wind speed and directional indicators that I use (flags on the First National building) to plan a route. The fierce and incessant south wind told me that I should try to ride south to north, if I could. I've taken a bus to ride home on the Keystone from the north before, so I was up for a change.

The 95 was very different from typical city routes. Once it drops off a lot of folks at the No Frills Park and Ride on Fort Crook Road, it turns uphill to meet up with Bellevue Boulevard and then continues south to Old Town Bellevue. The boulevard is a very scenic route running through the prettiest rolling hills in Bellevue. This route would get you close to the trails at Jewell Park, by the way.

Once in Old Town, I rode up to a convenience store for some Gatorade and Nutter Butters cookies. I didn't have a water bottle with me, so I knew I'd need some liquid refreshment. Then I headed down to Hayworth Park where the Keystone Trail/Bellevue Loop terminates.

View Keystone Trail in a larger map

I hunkered down and rode, slowly, against the wind for the first five miles. I kept a low gear and high cadence, to avoid stressing the still-tender knee. Finally the trail turned west, and then northwest, and I got to enjoy 15 miles of sweet tailwind all the way to Grover Street. I didn't have a speedometer or GPS running, but I think I was cruising 18-20 MPH without straining too hard. I know I got a decent workout, though, as there was quite a bit of sweat involved (most of it on my glasses; how can I stop that?).

My morning ride to the 76th and Cass MAT transit center was five miles, and my ride home from Bellevue was 22 miles. After getting minimal miles over the past two weeks of the YP Bus Challenge, I was very happy with my 27 mile commute today.

Now if I could only do a 27 mile commute every day I might drop a few more pounds and get some faster legs.


munsoned said...

With regard to sweating, I've had pretty good luck with the Halo Headband.

I've also taken old t-shirts, cut them up and used them as headbands. But the cotton only holds so much and doesn't dry out quickly.

I too sweat a bunch and have cycling sunglasses with prescription inserts, so there's all kinds of lenses for sweat to hinder vision. Headbands have always been a necessity for me in the summer.

brady said...

Good job on upping your mileage, Scott. If time permits, start adding an extra distance commute once per week so you don't stress that knee out too much.

Occasionally after work, I'll ride a modified UP Lunch route southward by Fontenelle Forest and into old town Bellevue before returning on the Keystone trail. Lots of hills and good mix of scenery. About 28 miles round trip. Because of the hills (and I'm lazy), I like to do the heavy work into the wind first before having a nice push home.

It would be fun to do that sometime with you on your road bike.

As for Munson's comment, I use a Sweat Gutter to channel (sweat) away from my eyes.

munsoned said...

I dunno if that Gutr is voluminous enough to handle my forehead downpours. I do need to try it though. Where did you get yours, Brady? Locally?

And Ditto on Brady's suggestion. Easing back into mileage is very smart to avoid re-injury.

brady said...

I used up extra cash from a PerformanceBike gift certificate.

The vapors from that rubber will knock you out when you first open the package. In fact, my basement still has that new car smell months later.

I've used the sweat gutter a few times on TT trainer rides. It's effective only if you keep your head up. Tilt down and it's water over the dam. I mean darn.

Aw Shit. Sorry about cussing on your blog.

Scott Redd said...

Whee! I did the Route 95/Keystone home again today. Much less wind = more fun ride.

This time is was broken up with an errand. I left the trail a little north of Cornhusker to head toward Bryan High School for a fine arts awards ceremony. I ducked into a restroom to cool off and change back into my work clothes.

(Note to self: consider a ziplock bag with an extra pair of clean undershorts stuffed into the tool bag for these unexpected multiple rides that require a second changing)

The ceremony didn't end until 9pm, so I rode the remaining six miles home in the dark, finally getting a chance to put my new Planet Bike 1W Blaze headlight to a true test. It's pretty darn good for a $30 light.

The sweat was a problem again. It gets all over my glasses. I really need to try the headband or Sweat Gutter. I read that some people with wide heads have problems, and also saw a lot of complaints about the head-down problem.

Still, it looks like an interesting alternative to a cloth headband.

I also noticed Brady's helmet has huge vents it... way larger than my helmet. I bet that extra venting helps with heat management.

Next I need to try a longish ride like this on the Schwinn ten-speed to see how I fare in the different riding position.

One way to mix up that route of yours, Brady, might be to get on the Omaha Riverfront Trail near 2nd and Hickory and riding it to Missouri Avenue at 13th Street.

Well, the Bus Challenge is effectively over tomorrow for me. It's unlikely I'll ride the bus on Saturday. I've still got a week left on the unlimited ride card, but I doubt it will see much use, as the Bike Commuter Challenge starts up Monday.

RD said...

i use my HUGE i brows :D
have you tried some cycling caps?

Scott Redd said...

Between the talk about eyebrows for sweat management and a mustache for dealing with the cold, I'm beginning to think that all cycling comfort issues can be solved by growing excess facial hair.